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S/SGT  Reed A. HUFFORD

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG
SERIAL #: 13108994 STATUS: POW
MACR: 00948 CR: 00948

Comments1: 8 OCT 43 BREMEN (1OOTH'S FAMED PICCADILLY LILY)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
                          1ST LT THOMAS E. MURPHY
                          ORGINAL 100TH PILOT

CREW #22   A/C #42-5864  "PICCADILLY LILY"  PROABLY THE 100TH MOST FAMOUS A/C

1ST LT  THOMAS E. MURPHY                 P; KIA     8 OCT 43 BREMEN
2ND LT  MARSHALL F. LEE                   CP; KIA      8 OCT 43 BREMEN
2ND LT  CHARLES C. SARABUN          NAV; POW    8 OCT 43 BREMEN
2ND LT  FLOYD C. PETERSON            BOM; POW   8 OCT 43 BREMEN
T/SGT   JOHN J. EHLEN                     TTE; POW   8 OCT 43 BREMEN
S/SGT   ALBERT C. DAVIS                  WG; CPT
SGT       EMMETT H. EVANS                ROG; CPT
S/SGT   CLEVELAND D. JARVIS           BTG; X-FERRED TO ARMAMENT, JULY 1943
S/SGT   MICHAEL ROTZ                      WG; POW  28 MAY 44 MADGEBURG
S/SGT   GERALD O. ROBINSON            TG; POW     8 OCT 43 BREMEN

ALBERT DAVIS AND EMMETT EVANS, HAVING COMPLETED TOURS WERE REPLACED ON THE 8 OCT 43 BREMEN MISSION BY DERRELL PIEL (ROG OF CREW #26) AND ELDER DICKERSON THE REGULAR WG OF CREW #25.  BOTH PIEL AND DICKERSON (ON HIS 25TH MISSION) WERE KILLED BY FLAK. JARVIS'S PLACE IN THE BALL TURRET WAS TAKEN BY S/SGT REED A. HUFFORD WHO BECAME A POW. MICHAIL ROTZ, HAVING BEEN HOSPITALIZED FROM INJURIES SUSTAINED IN A JEEP/TRUCK ACCIDENT WAS REPLACED BY S/SGT AARON A. DAVID, WHO WAS KILLED.  THERE IS CONFUSION AS TO WHETHER DAVID WAS BLOWN OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT WITHOUT A CHUTE OR HIS CHUTE FAILED TO OPEN.

THIS CREW LED THE 100TH ON THE MISSION TO BREMEN AND CAPT  ALVIN L. BARKER. 351ST OPERATIONS OFFICER, FLEW IN THE RIGHT SEAT. MARSHALL LEE THE REGULAR CO-PILOT FLEW AS BTG TO ISSUE REPORTS TO MURPHY AND BARKER. LEE WAS APPARENTLY KILLED AFTER LEAVING THE BALL TURRET IN HOPES OF RENDERING AID TO THE TWO PILOTS, BOTH OF WHOM WERE ALSO KILLED.

SOON AFTER BOMB RELEASE THE PICCADILLY LILY WAS HIT BY FLAK NEAR THE NAVIGATORS STATION CAUSING EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO THE FLIGHT DECK AREA AS WELL.  THIS SHELL OR OTHERS STARTED A FIRE IN THE #3 ENGINE AND DESTROYED THE
SHIPS OXYGEN SYSTEM. WITNESSES INDICATE THE LILY ENTERED A NEAR VERTICAL NOSE DOWN ATTITUDE AND EXPLODED WITH ONLY FOUR CHUTES OBSERVED.

ON 15 OCT 43 AT THE POST CEMETERY, WESERMUENDE, GERMANY, THE REMAINS OF MURPHY, BARKER, LEE, PIEL AND DICKERSON WERE INTERRED IN GRAVES #103 THROUGH 3107.

THE PICCADILLY LILY WAS IMMORTALIZED BY SY BARLETT AND BEIRNE LAY'S "TWELVE O' CLOCK HIGH."  WITHOUT A DOUBT SHE IS THE MOST REMEMBERED BOMBER  OF WWII.

THE FOLLOWING IS THE 351ST'S S-2 REPORT, ACTUALLY MORE OF A TRIBUTE ON THE LOSS OF THEIR BELOVED "OL'MURPH"
    (copied verbatim with no spelling corrections)       

THE SECOND CREW LOST OVER BREMEN WAS THAT OF CAPTAIN THOMAS E. MURPHY.  KILLED IN ACTION WERE CAPTAIN MURPHY, CAPTAIN A.L. BARKER, THE SQUADRON OPERATIONS OFFICER, LT M.F. LEE, T/SGT DARRELL C. PEIL AND S/SGT ELDER DICKERSON, T/SGT J.J. PHELAN AND SGT REED S. HUFFORD. S/SGT ARRON A. DAVID WAS NOT ACCOUNTED FOR AND IS LISTED A MISSING AS OF THIS REPORT.
IN THE TURBLENT, INCESSANT IN THE AIR, HEROES ARE MADE IN ONE SHRILL MOMENT, MADE LEDGENDARY BY SOME FACT OF SELF-SACRIFICE, BY A LATENT ABILITY TO RISE TO SOME EXTRAORDINARY EMERGENCY AT 20,000 FEET.  THEN AGAIN, SOME ARE THERE WHO DO THIER WORK IN CALM PERFECTION, TO WHOM THE FLEETING CHANCE MOMENT OF SUDDEN GLORY NEVER COMES.

CAPTAIN THOMAS E. MURPHY, THEN LT, FLEW HIS FIRST MISSION ON JUNE 6TH, 1943.  HIS AUSTER, COOL AIR OF DIGNITY MADE AN IMMEDIATE IMPRESSION.  HE WAS QUIET, A GOOD FELLOW WITH A READY SMILE. MEN MET HIM AND LIKED HIM AND THE MEN WHO FLEW WITH HIM SWORE BY HIM.
ON OCTOBER 8TH, 1943, WHEN A BURST OF FLACK ENDED HIS CAREER AT THE TWENTY-FOUR MISSION MARK, IT SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE THAT "OL MURPH" WAS THROUGH, THAT NEVER AGAIN WOULD HE GIVE HIS SHIP THAT METICULOUS ALL-EMBRACING PRE-FLIGHT IN HIS PASSION FOR PERFECTION.  NEVER AGAIN WOULD HIS QUIET VOICE INSTILL CONFIDENCE IN NERVE-WRACKED MEN.

AND YET THE STORY OF HIS ABILITY GOES ON. EVEN NOW, WALKING DOWN THE LINE, ANY CREW CHIEF YOU STOP WILL INVARIABLY NAME THE QUIET PILOT FROM WALTHAM, MASS, AS THE FINEST PILOT EVER TO TAKEOFF WITH A 351ST SHIP.  COL TURNER CONSIDERED HIM THE MOST DEPENDABLE "TOP MAN" HE EVER HAD.  THE AIRMAN WORKING FOR CAPTIAN MURPHY FORM M/SGT HERRMAN DOWN LAVISH EVERY SUPERLATIVE IN THE BOOK UPON HIM.
FOR THE AUGUST 17TH RAID ON REGANSBURG HE RECIEVED THE DFC, BUT NO ONE RAID OR DECORATION COULD POSSIBLY SUM UP OR ATTEST TO HIS SKILL AND DEVOTION TO HIS CREW.  FIVE CHUTES WERE SEEN TO FLOAT AWAY FROM THE STICKENED PICCADILLY LILY, BUT NO SUBSEQUENT WORD HAS EVER BEEN RECIEVED FROM CAPTAIN MURPHY.  HE WAS ALWAYS QUIET. NEVER LIKED TO MAKE A FUSS, NEVER LOST HIS TEMPER AND NO ONE EVER HEARD HIM CURSE. HE WAS PILOT THROUGH AND THROUGH, THE VERY BEST.  THE 351ST SHALL MISS HIM.

MEMO 2:

Replaced Cleveland D. Jarvis who had gone AWOL and when released had been transferred to armament in Jul 43.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Bremen DATE: 1943-10-08  
AIRCRAFT: "Piccadilly Lily" (42-5864) CAUSE: FLAK-Explosion  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 2467